Knowing Yourself is Important For Your Relationship

Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider

We have been discussing how to keep love alive in your relationship, suggesting ways to share and interact with your partner that will infuse your relationship with passion and kindness.
For this to work, you have to like being with your partner, and you have to like being with yourself as well.

If you are having trouble feeling love and warmth toward your partner, remember what brought you together to begin with; look for those places of core value and attraction to personality that drew you into this relationship. What has changed?

Perhaps there are real rifts that need to be dealt with. However, all too often people have let life’s demands and challenges so absorb them that they have lost connection with their partner. In the last few weeks we have offered a number of ways to change this dynamic and suggested approaches to rekindling your romance.

The other half of this equation is to know and to like yourself. If you can find acceptance and appreciation for yourself, you will be able to do so much more naturally with others.

You have to be content with yourself before you can be in a contented relationship #relationships Click To TweetThat means just being comfortable sitting with yourself and having trust that the universe will provide. Of course you will still have wants and needs, from thirst to thrills, but this is in contrast to having an inner core of dissatisfaction or pain or anger that can be temporarily obscured by the pleasures of life, but is always there, like a tinnitus of the soul, disturbing you in those quiet moments. If this is you, be brave: hunt it down, challenge it. You are not this beast. Meet it head on, and the truth shall set you free.

It’s not easy, and it’s never complete. It’s like weeding a garden: pluck out the weeds, haul them to the compost heap, and on return, the smaller weeds that you overlooked make the garden still look unkempt. Pluck those, and tiny shoots still defy perfection.

You have to be content with yourself before you can be in a contented relationship. That’s not to say you can’t be in a relationship at all, but if you feel dissatisfaction, pain or anger, accept that that is what you bring into it. When those emotions come from your partner, do not accept your role in their scene, their act, their drama. You do not have to respond to pain with guilt, to anger with fear or flight or struggle. To react in such a way is codependency. Instead, have empathy and compassion. This is your partner on the path to finding themselves.

To like yourself, you have to spend time really getting to know yourself. The more you accept who you are and appreciate who you are, the more you will be able to recognize your partner, and accept them for who they are.

Any time anger enters your heart, weed your garden.

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4 comments on “Knowing Yourself is Important For Your Relationship
  1. Carol Barringer says:

    I really like this column, even though I’m not in an “intimate” relationship, and am not looking for one either. I am finding, over and over, that what I do not like and have trouble accepting in someone else is really some version of the same thing in myself. I say, “I accept you; why can’t you accept me?” But what I perceive as the other’s non-acceptance of me is a “rough place” in myself where I need more work (and I know it), or else my “acceptance” of the other is defective in some way: it’s conditional, or based on what I think I know about that person, or I have “expectations” rather than actual acceptance of the other person. Wherever there’s a “tangle” with someone, there I am with my lack of understanding, forgiveness or compassion for myself far more than for the other person. Thank heaven for my journal, where I can examine the “uglies” and let the process go full tilt until resolution, peace, new clarity (and exhaustion) emerge. There is always something of value in your weekly column for me; even though I have no intention of ever being in “that kind” of relationship, I am still “in relationship” with myself and any number of important others. Thank you!

  2. Phil says:

    Dear Carol,
    thank you so much for your comment. It’s so nice to get responses and know that our columns resonate for people.
    Questions about the nature of the self, identity and consciousness intrigue me, and although they are easily obscured by day-to-day events, they re-emerge in quieter times and guide my views about the world. They also remind me that, although my world has me at the center, everyone else has a world just as complex as mine and of which they are at the center. Hard to remember when I meet someone slinging political insults!

  3. Jinjee says:

    I loved your phrase “tinnitus of the soul”. Who needs that kind of continual static! I love the idea of hunting it down. Once we weed the garden of our relationship with ourself our inner life will be more harmonious and allow our other relationships to be more peaceful and loving too.

  4. Maude says:

    Jane Jacobs says:
    As usual, very useful
    with interesting links.
    Yeah for you!
    Jane

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